Statement: The House Immigration Bills Perpetuate Trauma for Youth and Families
Today and tomorrow, as America is focused on the plight of migrant children separated from their parents, the U.S. House of Representatives presents two immigration bills that likely face defeat. Neither bill is a solution for youth and families under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program or prevents children from being traumatically detained. Both bills eliminate protections for people seeking asylum, including unaccompanied children.
The following statement comes from Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus Campaign for Children:
Today was supposed to be a day for Congress to address DACA, but has been hijacked to push an anti-immigration agenda that seeks to harm children in order to ensure its objectives are met. Both bills neglect the majority of DREAMers. Immigration policies should keep families together--and out of detention. Policies that separate families are detrimental to children and amount to abuse. Therefore, we reject the policies in these bills.
Chairman Goodlatte's bill, rejected by a 193 to 231 vote today, would end family migration, militarize the border, terrorizing families that live in border communities, give no long-term stability to DACA recipients, and, in fact, continue to threaten them with deportation and detention.
Speaker Ryan's bill would authorize family detention--in spite of research that consistently shows that family detention causes intergenerational, long-term trauma. It also would allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deport children seeking asylum to extremely dangerous situations, militarize the border, and neglect to provide a clear pathway for DREAMers.
First Focus Campaign for Children opposes both of these bills. Neither provide long-term solutions for youth who were brought here as children. They deserve permanent legal status. For these young people, the United States is home, and the termination of DACA by President Trump has put their futures at risk.